Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What is She Thinking?

In the article Haley budget proposal includes teacher recruitment program By SEANNA ADCOX (Associated Press), it is mentioned that

“S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley's plan for recruiting and retaining teachers in districts with the state's highest teacher-turnover rates includes the following:
—Students would get up to four years of tuition at a public college paid by committing to teach in a district where annual turnover exceeds 12 percent. Currently, 21 districts meet that definition. The person must teach two years for every year of tuition paid.
—Teachers already out of college could get their student loans paid off by moving to one of those districts. They would get one year's worth of tuition paid off for every year they teach.”

When I first heard this, I felt disturbed and unsettled by this. On the surface it sounds good but then I began to think about the assumptions that this plan makes.

By luring teachers to places where the turnover rate is high does not mean that those districts will get quality teachers. It just means that they get warm bodies. Is she implying that only quality teachers have student loans?

If these teachers happen to be enthusiastic and quality teachers, why do those districts with high turnover rates deserve them? I pay taxes and the students in my district deserve these teachers too.  Why shouldn’t all teachers in our state deserve the same opportunity?

Are we punishing the schools that are doing well and having positive results but luring their teachers away by dangling a financial carrot? Why should they be punished by losing quality teachers? What will happen to this school? Do they have to hire less qualified teachers? 

I don’t like the idea that there may be great teachers who are happy where they are but because they refuse to be relocated, may have to leave the great profession of teaching because the state insists that they go to a poorer run school or lose financial help that is given to others.

By attracting teachers to these districts, we aren’t getting to the root of the problem. We are only putting a band-aid over the wound but the problem is still there. Why isn’t someone using the money to figure out why the turnover rate is so high?  Are we not getting rid of the problem at one school and creating a new one at another?

All of this money incentives may have a negative connotation and make the public think quality education is all about the money and that is all that teachers think about.

If decision makers would look at surveys taken by teachers, they would see major concerns include red tape, excessive paperwork, redundancy in reports, ineffective administrators, inconsistent discipline, lack of flexibility, and over reliance on test scores. These are a few of the problems that could lead to high turnovers in schools.

I don’t think this is the answer to improving the quality of education in our state.  But maybe I’m missing something and you can help me understand this better.

How do you feel about this program? Please share.

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1 comment:

Adam said...

I don't think the question is really, "is this an effort to draw teachers away from good districts" but how do we recruit good teachers to low performing districts? High quality teachers are drawn to the best districts because they have better working conditions, motivated students, typically better pay, and higher test scores which lead to better evaluations for the teacher. What draws a teacher to a low performing district; typically you have lower pay scales, students who come to school with many more challenges outside of school, and a plethora of other problems that require more work to see gains in educational attainment.
I don't believe this is an end all solution but one that makes a better attempt than you typically see from republican led efforts towards education.